To Her Eager Suitor
Had we but world enough and time
This wooing, sir, would be no crime
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of thy endless attention would complain. I would
Despise you ten years before the flood,
And I should, if you please, deny
No matter how long you try.
My sweet affection should grow
Sour as vinegar and more slow;
An hundred years should go to scorn
Thine worthless mind, from dusk to morn;
Two hundred to abhor thy bodily self,
But thirty thousand to all else;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should break thy heart.
For, sir, you deserve this state,
Nor would I hate at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
My patience shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing spite; then worms shall try
Thy self-despised virginity
And thy mad persistence into dust
And my coy disdain into rust
To rot in earth is fine to do,
Less eroding than to be with you.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Like a bird of prey with one wing lame
You should hunt more slothful game.
We should at once our time devour
Or languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all thy want and all
My hatred up into one ball,
And tear our grievance with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Though you wish our love remain
Better, we never meet again.